Woman vomited blood, says minibar soda swapped for bleach at Dominican resort where US tourists died

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Screen capture … Credit ABC News

A woman from Brooklyn says she thinks she was poisoned at the same Dominican Republic resort where three U.S. citizens died last month, according to the Daily News.

In October of last year, Awilda Montes and her boyfriend were at the Luxury Bahia Principe Bouganville. She told the Daily News that she took a drink from a bottle of what she thought was soda that was in the minibar in her room. Fortunately, she swallowed just a bit before spitting it out. She found blood in the sink, smelled the bottle and quickly realized it was bleach, she said.

Until news came out about the three deaths at the same resort in May, she believed that her episode was unintentional and perhaps a mistake by a hotel maid.

“I thought the maid service, maybe to not carry the bleach bottle from room to room, would maybe put it into a smaller bottle,” Montes told the Daily News. “Or maybe they were trying to take it home to clean their house.”

“I honestly never imagined that somebody was trying to purposely do that until now, until watching the three deaths. Now I’m thinking had (the hotel) investigated this mystery, they would be alive.”


Video by GMA, ABC

Montes, 43, has to count herself fortunate that she did not swallow much of the liquid. “I noticed there was no fizz in it but I just figured it was Dominican soda, it was kind of flat. So I took a swig … and luckily I kind of held it in my mouth a bit and I felt it burn. I swallowed a bit … (then) ran into the bathroom and spit in the sink,” she said.

Seeing blood in the sink, she turned to her boyfriend and said, “‘I think this is bleach.’ And he smelled the bottle and he said, ‘It is,'” according to The News. She reportedly called the front desk, and she was brought to a medical clinic. Somewhere along the way, someone took the soda bottle from her, she said.

Hotel management offered her a free couples massage and free dinner in return for her signature on a non-disclosure agreement. In agony, she rejected the offer.

Medical records provided to the News indicated “a pain in the dorsal and lateral region of the tongue, accompanied with vomiting … with a frequency of two occasions following the (ingestion) of a liquid approximately thirty minutes ago.”

“The next day I was nauseous,” Montes said. “I was in pain, and all I could have was ice. I was vomiting. I had stomach pains. The chemical burns were all over. I still don’t have sensation in my tongue,” she said.

Montes’ reported case is similar to that of Miranda Schaup-Werner, who collapsed and died May 25 shortly after taking a drink from the minibar of her hotel room at the same resort. Only five days later, Edward Holmes and Cynthia Day of Maryland were found dead in their room. Autopsy results for all three list respiratory failure as a cause or condition. Holmes and Day also had fluid in their lungs.

Authorities in the Dominican Republic have blamed the deaths on pre-existing health conditions.

Still another couple has come forward, reporting their recent experience at the same hotel. Colorado residents Kaylynn Knull and Tom Schwander reported that they visited last summer but suddenly became ill in the middle of the night. “We both woke up soaked in sweat at like four in the morning, and kind of terrified,” Knull told Good Morning America on Thursday. “We booked a flight home before the sun came up.”

 

 

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